United will be gunning for a win

2009-09-16 00:00

BUOYED by a first-ever away victory over Kaizer Chiefs on the weekend, Maritzburg United will aim to keep the momentum going in their Premier Soccer League game against Bloemfontein Celtic at Woodburn Stadium tonight (8.15 pm).

United’s results at Woodburn over the last eight months have been increasingly positive and the stadium must be becoming a feared venue to travel to in the PSL.

And United’s opening 1-1 draw to champions SuperSport United and convincing 2-0 win over AmaZulu at the ground suggest that trend will continue into the new season.

Celtic, coached by Owen da Gama, are one of the more skilful, ball-playing teams in the PSL. It is their erratic nature — brilliant one day then woeful the next — that should prompt United to take a serious approach to tonight’s game as they attempt to notch up a second victory in succession and preserve their position in second place behind Orlando Pirates.

Fifth-placed Celtic, along with Pirates, Wits University and Lamontville Golden Arrows, are one of four teams still unbeaten in the PSL, though they had to rely on a 90th-minute equaliser from Thembile Kanono to preserve that record on Sunday with a 1-1 home draw against AmaZulu.

“They’ve got some very dangerous players like their new signing from Ajax Cape Town, Mkhanyiseli Siwahla, and Moses Spandeel is a very quick, talented player,” United coach Gordon Igesund said last night.

“They’re a very motivated team, and they don’t play to a very definable shape — they can be all over the place.

“But I saw areas where I think they have problems. They let AmaZulu into areas a few times and we’re obviously going to try and do that too.

“We’re playing at home and we want to make it difficult for them. My team is fired up and we know this is a big game.

“The game against Chiefs is over now and we’re focused on tomorrow night’s game. We know it won’t be easy — they have [former Maritzburg assistant coach] Clinton Larsen with them now, and he won’t know exactly what to expect from us, but he’ll have some idea.”

Igesund said he will make just one enforced change from the team that beat Chiefs 1-0 at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

“I’m not going to make any changes unless someone has flu or a late injury. [Central defender] Byron Hendricks has a strained hamstring and he’s only 60%, so he’s the only change I’ll make and it’s an opportunity for Mor Diouf to come back into the team.

“The guys’ confidence is high but they also know it’s important to keep focused and that it takes a lot of hard work to win any game, and they’re prepared to do this.”

Apart from Siwahla, two other new signings for Celtic also capable of causing problems for the home defence tonight are ex-Pirates playmaker Kanono and ex-Moroka Swallows striker Sandile Ndlovu.

United’s pacy wingers, Felix Obada and Rudolf Bester, scorer of a candidate for goal-of-the-season against Chiefs, are revelling in playing outside of good passers Chilis Madondo and Noah Chivuta in the middle.

Expect full-backs Peter Petersen and Elias Ngwepe to push forward more on their home ground.

In Johannesburg, meanwhile, a reckless tackle from Platinum Stars’ George Mofokeng resulted in a 62nd minute penalty from which Siphiwe Tshabalala gave Kaizer Chiefs a desperately-needed 1-0 win at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, which moved the Amakhosi away from the embarrassing bottom position in the PSL log.

Last night: Platinum Stars 0 Kaizer Chiefs 1

Today: Free State Stars v Lamontville Golden Arrows (Goble Park, 3.30 pm), Orlando Pirates v Black Aces (Orlando Stadium, 7.30 pm), SuperSport United v Moroka Swallows (Super Stadium, 7.30 pm), Santos v Jomo Cosmos (New lands Stadium, 7.30 pm), AmaZulu v Ajax Cape Town Chatsworth (Stadium, 7.30 pm), Wits University v Mamelodi Sundowns (Bidvest Stadium, 8 pm), Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Woodburn Stadium, 8.15 pm)



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